Medication non-adherence poses many problems for patients, especially those with chronic conditions. With 70% of ambulatory visits involving either new prescriptions or continued medications, there is a high reliance on patient follow through to improve quality of life and prevent hospitalizations. Despite the benefits, research shows that many patients fail to take some or all of their medication as prescribed. Research* has found that early and frequent follow-up is an important factor in keeping people adherent. We recognize our unique opportunity to assess, offer, implement and evaluate medication adherence issues.
When prescribing medication for your patients, it is important to discuss the significance of taking the medication as directed. Medication non-adherence is a multi-faceted problem, especially for your patients with chronic diseases.
Ask your patients about all of the medications they are taking, including those prescribed by other practitioners, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements. Let your patients know why you are asking about these other medications. You want to help them be aware that various medications can have unintended interactions and may compromise their health. By reviewing the use and importance of each medication with your patients, you can improve its use as well.
The Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative (WPQC) has developed a new pocketbook toolkit Adherence Guide. This guide provides key tips and solutions for addressing 5 common barriers to adherence:
A My Medication Plan tear-off is also available and can be used with individuals when reviewing the medications in the pharmacy.
For ordering information, please visit http://www.pswi.org.
*Sources: Coldham EL, Addington J, Addington D. Medication adherence of individuals with a first episode of psychosis. (2002) Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 106, 286–290.